Small Pieces

Speaking of small pieces, in the section of the Word below Jesus tells us in our eighth guideline to avoid neglecting any law, big or little.

23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23 NASB95)

While it is a good thing to measure out the spices, we should pay equal or even greater attention to weightier issues. The tithing of small things is good. We should do that. But we are not to neglect justice, mercy, and faithfulness while we are measuring our spices. This is like a child with a laser sense of judgment when eyeing a sibling’s dessert, but steals money out of mom’s purse when she’s not looking. If I am nit-picky about tithing some spices, yet ignore more important issues that have a far greater effect on people, something is out of whack.

Feast days, diet, and laws of clean and unclean are important. But we must not forget that love, grace, patience, self-control and longsuffering are weightier. The fruit of the Spirit is just as much a law as avoiding pork and shellfish (except weightier). Don’t neglect the weightier commands while obeying the lighter commands. The lighter helps us learn the weightier, and the weightier reinforces that even the lighter words from God are important.

This is one of those teachings from Jesus skipped over by people who divide the Law into civil, ceremonial and moral sections. They tell us to ignore what they deem “small things” in His precious Word. But Jesus clearly says all the commands are important. Some are weightier than others, but none of them are neglected by the believer. As I said before, Jesus also tells us that if we are faithful in small things we will be faithful in larger things (Luke 16:10).

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Faithful in Little, Faithful in Much

Shadows and Small Things

Another selection from ‘Whole Bible Christianity’
Because a shadow is insubstantial, and Paul mentions that parts of the Law are a shadow, some conclude we don’t have to follow the Law.

16Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 NASB95)

Trouble is, this conclusion is false. There are many uses of the word ‘shadow’ in the Word, but the shadows are real. For instance, in Matthew 4:16 people are said to be under the shadow of death, and death is very real. Isaiah speaks of another type of shadow.

16“I have put My words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ” (Isaiah 51:16 NASB95)

The “shadow of (God’s) hand” is obviously real too, and has a very real effect on us. Just because Paul used the concept of a shadow does not mean that the Law isn’t real and isn’t to be followed. A shadow can only be cast by the real thing. If you have the shadow, you have the reality too. We’ll cover more of Colossians 2 a little later in the book.

The life that we live here and now is a shadow of the next one, but that doesn’t mean it is any less substantial or real. What we do in this ‘shadow’ life will determine substance in the next life. What we do with the ‘shadows’ God gives us in His Law will be part. If we are faithful with very little ‘shadows’ it means we are faithful also in much bigger things, shadows or not.

10“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. (Luke 16:10 NASB95)

If it is true that God gave a “mere shadow” of things in the Law, then why give them in the first place? Why not just say (at Mount Sinai) “Oh, just do what you want because My Anointed will make everything cool in a thousand years or so?” What kind of sense does that make? The answer is it doesn’t make any sense. Yes, some of the things God gave at Sinai could be termed ‘shadows’ of things to come. But that does not mean they are not worth doing.